Months after Rep. Duncan Hunter asked the Justice Department to consider leniency for Border Patrol Agent Jesus E. Diaz Jr., who was convicted of using excessive force in arresting an illegal immigrant, the Obama administration has brushed that request.
In October and again in November, Mr. Hunter, a California Republican, asked the Justice Department to forgo collecting a court-imposed fine until after Diaz is released from prison, saying his family would have to struggle to make the payments.
In two short letters sent Feb. 13, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich responded, dismissing Mr. Hunter's request and saying "the case against Mr. Diaz was fully litigated in federal court." Mr. Weich also sent Mr. Hunter the press release the department issued when the judgment was handed down. Mr. Hunter's office made the letters public this week.
In a statement, Mr. Hunter said the replies were an "embarrassment."
"This response shows the insensitivity and disrespect of this Justice Department, even as a Border Patrol officer sits in jail for reasons that aren’t clear," he said. "The Justice Department has a real problem on its hands, with this case and Fast and Furious, and still there’s no interest in setting the record straight and taking responsibility. What’s most disappointing about this response is what it says to the men and women of the Border Patrol.”